Baked chicken, aromatic Jazzmen (jasmine) Rice grown in Louisiana and fresh green beans, all flavored with warm garlic-lemon vinaigrette, make a tasty and healthy meal for a spring evening.
Chef Geoffrey Rhode's Chicken with Garlic-Lemon Vinaigrette and Jazzmen Rice
Rice is a versatile and beloved side dish in Louisiana, and for the first time, diners can eat locally grown crops of the grain without giving up the flavor and aroma of jasmine rice, traditionally grown in Thailand — thanks to Jazzmen Rice, a variety developed by the LSU AgCenter and grown by Louisiana farmers.
Chef Geoffrey Rhode, who trained under Emeril Lagasse and has had a hand in the menus of several area restaurants, is developing recipes for Jazzmen Rice, including this one, which tastes and looks decadent, but actually is healthy as well as easy and delicious.
For about 142 calories per serving and only 3 grams of fat, chicken packs a nutritional punch, provding 53 percent of the daily requirement of protein, 59 percent of niacin, 26 percent of vitamin B6 and smaller amounts of riboflavin, phosphorus, selenium, iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium. Rice is a complex carbohydrate, which means it is digested slowly and provides your body with a source of energy released over a longer period of time. It also has about 300 calories in 3 1/2 cups and is rich in potassium, phosphorus, calcium, niacin and protein. Green beans are a good complement, with only about 34 calories in a cup serving. They also provide about 15 percent of the fiber you need in a day, plus 30 percent of the vitamin C, 15 percent of the vitamin A and 6 percent of the iron.
Chef Geoffrey Rhode's Roast Chicken with warm Garlic and Lemon Vinaigrette
1 fresh free-range chicken, approx. 3 lbs., split
Olive oil, approx. 3 tablespoons
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
Small pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Small pinch of freshly ground cumin seed
Small pinch of freshly ground coriander seed
Small pinch of ground turmeric
Juice from two large lemons (do not substitute store-bought lemon juice)
1 head of fresh garlic, with the skin on, cut in half horizontally
Rinse the chicken under cool running water. Pat it completely dry with paper towels, both the skin side and the bone side. Place all of the spices in a small bowl. Add the olive oil and mix into a spice paste. Rub the paste all over the chicken halves, both skin side and bone side, then gently massage the paste into the chicken for maximum flavor. Set aside and allow to marinate while the oven heats up.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Brush the skin side and the cut side of the head of garlic with olive oil until just coated. When the oven has preheated, place the chicken halves, skin side up, in a shallow roasting pan with a screen or rack placed in the bottom. Put the split head of garlic on the rack with the cut side facing down (see note below for cooking time). Place the pan in the oven and roast for approximately 45 minutes, until the chicken is a deep golden brown and cooked throughout. Remove from oven and place the chicken on a platter to rest. Remove the rack and reserve the pan and the drippings for the vinaigrette.
NOTE: You should remove the roasted garlic from the oven after 25 minutes or so, once the skin has browned and the garlic cloves have softened.
Squeeze out the roasted garlic toes from the skin and place in a small bowl. Use a fork to mash into a paste. Place the garlic paste, along with the lemon juice, into the roasting pan with the chicken drippings, Mix together with a whisk, scaping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Taste and add salt if necessary. Pour the vinaigrette over the chicken. Serve with Jazzmen rice and steamed green beans that have been drizzled with some of the vinaigrette.